DISCLAIMER: All things Buffy belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and lots of people in expensive suits. I’m not making any money here, just trying to create a happier Buffyverse for my favorite characters.
SPOILERS: Starts during the events of “Earshot,” and contains spoilers for the remainder of S3.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Second Chances
By rebelrsr



"No," Wesley immediately said. "Too reckless. We're at a distinct disadvantage. We know absolutely nothing about the Ascension."

Sounding thoughtful, but still supportive, Giles chimed in. "No, I think she may be right."

"Really?" Buffy couldn't believe he'd backed her up. He was usually so conservative.

Giles gave a little half smile before continuing. "I believe we need to go on the offensive. Perhaps," he glanced at Buffy, "we should try a more direct approach in gathering information."

The Slayer frowned. What is he trying to tell me? The blonde stared hard at her ex-Watcher.

The older man noticed her confusion. "I'm sure, if you were to keep a watch on City Hall, you might feel a little more proactive, my dear."

"OK," Buffy said, still not getting the point. Then, eyes widening, "Oh! Yeah, Giles. I get it. Good plan. I'll grab Angel, and we'll head over there tonight. We'll find out what they're up to."

"So, Will, I never got to tell you about how the spell worked," Buffy said.

The redhead looked up from her lunch, and grinned. "Did it work? I wanted to ask but then the whole Ascension research thing and the Aspect… So, how does Angel feel? You seem OK, so that must mean…"

Laughing at the babble, the Slayer cut in, "Breathe, Will." When her friend had calmed a bit, she continued, "It worked. It really worked. When we were in the mansion, and I was all tied up and everything; I touched the charm and did the chant."

"Didn't they notice?" the young witch wanted to know.

"They might have, but they were too busy making out," Buffy mumbled.

It was obvious Willow didn't know how to respond to that. "Um. OK. I guess."

The Slayer shrugged. "I was freaking out. Faith was going all out, and Angel wasn't fighting her off."

"So you used the spell to see if he really wanted Faith," the redhead stated.

"Yeah." The Slayer drifted off into private thoughts for a moment. After a long silence, she looked up to see Resolve Face staring back at her. "Oops! Sorry, Will. Can you back off on the command presence just a little?" She relaxed slightly as the young witch smiled a bit. "Anyway, watching the floor show made me think it was time to do the spell. I really needed to know it was just a show and not Angel responding to Faith.

"After I incanted the spell, it was weird. I felt like I was in two different places at the same time. You told me I would sense his emotions like an echo, really faint and far away. But it was like we were in the same body."

Willow looked concerned. "That shouldn't have happened."

Tilting her head, Buffy asked, "But it's OK, right? It wasn't like the Aspect. I only felt his emotions. Come to think of it, I think I felt Faith's emotions, too, when I was in her apartment."

"Whoa! Buffy, that shouldn't have happened."

"Will, I'd feel a lot better if you'd stop saying that." The blonde was more than a little freaked by the young witch's response. "Can we check to see if the spell worked right?"

Nodding slowly, Willow said, "Yeah. Maybe. I'll have to look into it." She blushed. "I'll have to wait until Giles leaves, though. The spell is in one of the books he keeps locked in his office."

"Will! You didn't tell me that."

"I know. I know." The redhead bounced in her chair, obviously upset. "I had to help. The spell isn't dangerous or anything. It's just some of the other stuff in the book that Giles is afraid I'll see."

Taking a deep breath, Buffy commented, "Alright. Can you check to see if there's some kind of side effect of something? 'Cause feeling Angel's emotions is OK, but Faith's? Not so good."

"Sure, Buffy. I'll look, I promise." The redhead met the Slayer's eyes. "So, since I can't do anything about this until later, you wanna tell me what you felt from your boyfriend?"

Laughing, the blonde pelted her best friend with French fries. "Willow Rosenberg! That's so bad!"

"Maybe, but I still want to know. So, spill, besty friend. I want all the juicy details."

Sitting back in her chair, Buffy thought back to the night in the Manor. "Well, after I whispered the spell, I got really hot. Not 'I'm touching Angel' hot." The blonde smiled at Willow's giggles. "More like 'someone turned my blood to lava' hot. Then, I felt his thoughts. It's hard to describe. Feelings don't always fit words. He and Faith were in a clinch, and he was - almost repulsed. He didn't want her touching him."

"So, not even a tiny hint of desire for her? I mean, she is kinda sexy in a slutty sorta way," Willow said.

"No," the Slayer replied. "They came back over to me a few minutes later. And I could tell he was nervous. I mean, I was strapped down and there was a table full of sharp and pointy things waiting to be used. I was nervous, too. But," the blonde smiled through a bright blush, "he definitely liked what he saw."

"Wow. So are you going to tell him about the spell tonight?" Willow wanted to know.

Buffy hesitated. "I probably should."

Looking thoughtful, the witch said, "You know, Angel's been around a long time. If you tell him about sensing Faith's emotions, too, he might know what happened."

Faith lay in bed considering all her options until exhaustion dragged her into sleep. Thanks to Slayer healing, the turmoil in her mind didn't affect her slumber. Waking hours later, the brunette pulled herself into a sitting position. The Mayor's disappointment in her performance cut deeply. Whatever else he might be, Richard Wilkins III cared for her. He was her family. The Slayer knew she had to stop questioning her loyalties. It was time to choose a side and hold to that choice.

Getting out of bed wasn't as painful as she'd expected. The ribs ached, but the sharp stabbing pain had gone. Purple bruising now just looked yellowed. She rushed through a shower, grabbed some clothes, and headed for city Hall.

The Slayer burst into Sunnydale's administrative hub, sparing only a glance for the woman behind the security desk. Human, this one. The Mayor still maintained the façade of normalcy during daylight hours. Striding quickly down the twisting hallways, Faith kept her mind focused on what she had to do. It was time to prove her commitment to the cause. A quick knock prefaced her entrance into the Mayor's office.

"Afternoon, Boss," she greeted the man behind the large desk.

His entire face lit up as he smiled. "Faith!" He stood and came around the desk. Stopping short of hugging her, he examined her closely. "You look much better than last night. Are your ribs better? I could always get a doctor down here to make sure."

The Slayer smiled, a real smile, not her usual smirk. "No, I'm good." She let the slight man lead her to the chair sitting opposite his own.

"Now, I think it's time we had a little talk about your future with the City." He sat down and placed his elbows on the desk. Watching her reacting intently, he continued, "I'm sure you're aware that your performance has been, shall we say, less than expected."

Faith started to interrupt, but the Mayor leveled a cold glare in her direction. "Now, Faith, I think it's time to prove you're worth the salary and benefits you've been receiving. Your continued employment depends on how well these little errands are carried out."

The Slayer knew, with absolute certainty, the older man didn't mean the tasks would keep her on the city payroll. Failure this time meant her death. "Whatever you need, Boss, I'm your girl."

That quirky smile returned to the older man's face. "I just knew you'd see it my way. Now, first, I need you to run out to the airport and take care of some business for me."

Surprised at the simplicity of the request, Faith smiled, "No problem. What kinda business we talkin' about?"

"There's a package arriving tonight from Central America by a demon courier. It's something, and I can't stress this enough, something crucial to my Ascension. Without it, well," he hesitated and then continued with a smile, "it's not anything I need to worry about. I know you'll ensure it gets here."

"You know it, Boss." The Slayer stood up.

From her vantage point on top of the hangar, Faith watched the small plane taxi up to the limousine on the edge of the runway. She'd had the limo's driver drop her off before they'd entered the private airstrip. Now, adrenaline surging, she tested the pull of the bow in her hands. A soft whir resulted as the pulley assembly turned on the modern weapon. Satisfied, the Slayer moved forward slightly, leaning against the waist-high concrete wall. She pulled an arrow from the quiver at her side and waited for the right moment.

The plane stopped, and a greasy demon climbed out. He held a large metal box in his hands; Faith caught the glint of a handcuff on one wrist with her Slayer-enhanced eyesight. Moving quickly, the courier approached the vampire leaning against the limousine on the tarmac. Straightening to attention, the brunette knocked the arrow, feathered shaft and bowstring resting lightly on her right cheek. She tracked the demon carefully and listened to the conversation going on below.

The vampire pushed away from the car and picked up a briefcase. "He in there?" the courier asked as the vampire opened the nearest door on the long car.

"No, I'll take you to him."

The box-carrying demon reacted badly to the news. Kicking the car door with his left foot to close it, he hissed, "The Mayor was supposed to be here in person to deliver the money."

This is it, Faith thought from her post above the interaction. Checking her aim, she concentrated on dropping her fingers from the bowstring smoothly.

The demon had paused for effect. "Well, the price just went up. I don't like surprised."

Well, how about this surprise, pal? Faith grinned at the look of confusion on the tattooed face of the delivery man. He stared down at the shaft poking from his chest before crumpling to the ground. Loosening the string, the Slayer slung the bow across her body, picked up the quiver, and jumped off the roof to the tarmac.

The vampire hadn't recovered from his own surprise – the arrow had flown inches from his head on its way to the eventual target. His yellow eyes glared at the cocky brunette strutting his way. "You almost killed me," he growled.

"Yeah, so? One less vamp in the world," the Slayer mocked. "Get the keys to the cuffs."

Roughly searching the dead demon's pockets, the vampire looked for the requested item. "Nothing," he said, after several minutes.

Sighing impatiently, Faith reached for the knife sheathed under her jacket. The vampire smirked at the blade. "That won't cut through steel."

"No," the Slayer agreed. She let her lips lift in a cold smile. "But it will cut through bone."



Faith picked up the box, the demon's hand was still attached to the cuff dangling from the side. "Let's go," she snapped at the stunned vampire. When he just stared at her, unmoving, she asked "What? Don't tell me you've never seen blood before?"

The Slayer stalked to the limousine and shoved her package across the long back seat. Flicking an impatient glance at the driver, she climbed in and shut the door. The driver followed suit and they were soon underway. During the trip back to City Hall, Faith examined the outside of the box next to her. Although it appeared made of metal, it had a strange grained texture. Casually leaning back in the seat, the Slayer raised the privacy screen, shutting out the vampire's view.

Heart pounding, the brunette slowly opened the latch and raised the lid. Frowning, she leaned closer. The box was empty. I come all the way out here, toast a demon, and for what? Some freakin' empty box! Irritated and confused, Faith almost missed the scratching sounds emanating from the container. Peering in again, her eyes widened and she slammed the lid. Even her enhanced reflexes were barely enough. The material of the lid chopped off the tips of the legs crawling out of the box.

With a shaking hand, the teen latched the box and brushed off the grisly remains of the limbs. What the hell was that thing? She was pretty sure the creature had been a spider. But the Slayer had no idea why the Mayor would need a box full of them for his Ascension. Stuffing her unease deep down inside, she lowered the privacy screen. "We almost there?" she demanded.

"Yeah. Should be there is under ten. Why? You got a hot date?" the vampire sneered.

Meeting its yellow eyes in the rearview mirror, Faith licked her lips. "What if I do? Demon killing always makes me hot." If the demon had still been alive, the brunette knew he would have flushed and stammered. Instead, the vampire bared its fangs and growled. Closing her eyes and feigning boredom, the Slayer endured the remainder of the ride.

When the car finally stopped at the curb in front of City Hall, Faith waited until the driver opened her door. Climbing out of the vehicle, box held protectively against her chest, she glanced up and down the street. Something tickled…B. B was there, watching. The younger girl almost smiled. So, the Scoobies were still in the hunt. Ignoring her screaming senses, the Dark Slayer kept her face expressionless and walked up the stairs.

Now that it was after hours, vampires provided security at the front desk. Nodding to the pair lounging at the receptionist desk, Faith strode quickly down the hall. Unlike earlier, she didn't knock. Ramming the closed door with a booted foot, the Slayer stormed into the Mayoral office, box held aloft like the spoils of war.

"Hey ho! There it is!" The Mayor jumped from his seated position on his desk and moved to the box Faith had dropped onto the very end of the gleaming surface. His beaming smile dimmed a little as he fished an envelope out of his coat pocket. "Um, where's the courier?" he asked. "I was supposed to pay him."

Faith smirked. Plucking the envelope from the Mayor's hand, she replied, "I made him an offer he couldn't survive." For just a moment, the Slayer feared she had gone too far. Then the older man gave a bark of laughter.

"You are one heck of a girl, you know that?"

The brunette tried to look flattered. His rapidly changing moods threw her off balance and made her nervous. He either didn't notice her unease, or she'd managed to keep it hidden.

"I mean the initiative, the skill," he went on. Faith knew she should say something, but her mind was frozen.

Trying to fit back into her usual persona, she waved a hand. "Go on," she urged. She stood and moved to the chair in front of the desk. Leaning back, she propped her feet on the desk.

The Mayor had continued gushing praise during her change in location, but he stopped the second the shoe leather touch wood surface. "Hey, hey, hey," he chanted, looking at her expectantly.

Pulling her feet down and gesturing an apology, the Slayer focused back in on the Mayor's words. "If Buffy Summers walked in here and said she wanted to switch to our side, I'd say, no thanks, sister, I got all the Slayer one man could ever need."

Faith stiffened. If Buffy ever said that, she'd be lying. No one would believe she'd ever work for you. Me, everybody expected me to be here. The brunette sighed at the painful thought.

The Mayor noticed her changing mood. "What?" he questioned.

Straightening a little and banishing the thoughts about the blonde Slayer, Faith brushed off the question. "Nothing. Just thinking there was no way B'd ever say anything like that."

"You never know, it might happen," her Boss tried. Seeing her skeptical glance, he queried, "Are you still upset about that whole Angel-Buffy thing?" He shook his head. "She can have him. You deserve far better than that poor excuse for a creature of the night."

Wanting to get the Mayor off the subject of Buffy, Faith pushed for a reaction. While the older man talked, she moved to the box and began to undo the latch. Her movements were slow – she had no desire to release the creepy things inside. The Mayor didn't know that, and his reaction was swift and over the top. Diving across the desk, he laid his upper body across the lid. "Don't do that," he ordered.

Buffy hesitated outside the Manor. She hadn't seen much of Angel since the night they'd tricked Faith. Still, he must be OK with things; he had helped cure her of the Aspect. The blonde squared her shoulders and knocked lightly on the frame of the French doors leading to the courtyard. "Angel?" she called.

Footfalls sounded inside. "Oh, hi, Buffy." He examined her closely. "Everything alright?"

"Um, yeah." The Slayer was nervous. "Giles and I came up with this plan. I need your help," she blurted out.

The centuries old vampire looked confused by her strange behavior. "Sure. Come in for a few minutes. I need to change if we're going out." He returned inside, and Buffy trailed along in his wake. "So, what's the plan?"

The blonde teen shook off her hesitancy. "We're going to do a little information gathering. Giles thought we might be able to find something at City Hall." She paused. "Maybe Faith will give us something we can use to defeat the Mayor."

Her words stunned the demon. "Really? I would have thought you'd given up on that. She wasn't in a very helpful mood the other night, and, after she discovered we'd tricked her, I wouldn't expect she'd want to help."

"Yeah. That's true." God, can this conversation get any more stupid? Buffy changed the subject. "Thanks for helping with the demon last night. Thought sensing means much badness."

Angel reemerged from the sleeping alcove dressed all in black. Poetic, the Slayer thought, but it makes his lack of color all too noticeable. He'd look better in lighter colors. "Sure, Buffy." The tall vampire smiled. "I couldn't let you keep reading everyone's mind. You might have decided to kill Xander for all the thoughts he has about you."

The blonde laughed. "Yeah. That's the truth." An uncomfortable silence stretched between the couple. "So, you ready to rock and roll? Cause I'm thinking information on the Ascension is of the good."

"I'm ready." He looked at her intently. "Are you sure everything is OK?" he asked as they walked outside.

The blonde girl forced a tinkling laugh. "I'm fine."

Thirty minutes later, the two crouched behind the shrubs in front of City Hall. Nothing was happening. Buffy concentrated, searching for Faith. She got a faint echo of unease and adrenaline. Wherever her sister Slayer was, she wasn't inside the city building. "Well, this is a whole lot of boring," she whined. Sitting down on the damp grass, she rested against the vampire.

"What did you expect, Buffy? A big sign saying 'Ascension Halting Plans Here?'"

"Hey! That's not nice." This was so not going the way she'd imagined. The Slayer concentrated on her boyfriend, trying to find out what he was feeling. Nothing happened.

"Um, Angel?" she said slowly, a sick feeling in her stomach.

"Yes?" The vampire pushed her away a little so he could look in her face.

"I couldn't sense your thoughts last night. Um, I kinda missed the 411 on that." She took a deep breath. "Since we have some time to kill, could you bring me up to date?" Please, please don't let him say he's immune to empathy, too.

"Sure, Buffy. I'm surprised Willow or Giles didn't tell you." He brushed some hair out of her eyes, smiling tenderly. "It has to do with being dead."

"Um, OK," she replied without thinking.

Laughing, Angel jostled the small blonde. "Buffy, when a person dies, the soul departs. Once the soul is gone, there isn't anything for a telepath to read."

"But, you have a soul. And, does that mean no once can read your thoughts or your emotions?" The Slayer was cold, thinking about the implications.

"Well, I do have a soul. But that happened because of a curse. And, even with the soul, I'm still dead." He shrugged, unable to clearly explain the phenomena. "I guess it's like the mirror. The thoughts and emotions are there, they just don't create a reflection to be read.

"Oh," the blonde mumbled. I so need to talk to Will. If I wasn't feeling Angel in the Manor, I had to be feeling Faith. Oh my God, Faith is attracted to me!

As she struggled with that concept, she felt the girl in question. The other Slayer was seriously freaked about something, and the emotions were stronger than before. She must be heading towards them. "Angel," Buffy said, "Faith's coming."

"What? How can you be sure?" He crept to the bushes and peered out. Not seeing anything, he turned back to his blonde companion. "Buffy, what's going on with you? You've been acting really strange all night. Are you sure that the Heart got rid of the Aspect?"

Buffy nodded. "Oh, yeah. It's gone. No more creepy thoughts of Mom and my Watcher doing the nasty on a police car." She shuddered. Hearing those thoughts probably left scars in her mind.

"Joyce and Giles?" Angel chuckled. He started to say something more when the sound of a car sent the both scrambling back to their vantage point.

A long black limo pulled up to the curb and a vampire in full 60s regalia hopped out. Glancing around, he walked to the back door and opened it for the passenger. Buffy was unsurprised to see Faith climb out of the car. The other Slayer held a large box against her chest and looked around her intently. Brown eyes paused fractionally as they wandered over the blonde Slayer's location. Buffy felt the younger girl's amusement and – happiness? – that she was there.

Faith didn't say anything to the limo driver. Clutching the box, she went inside. The vampire climbed into the car and Slayer and vampire watched him pull farther up the block and park.

"So, Angel, I wonder what's in the box?" Buffy asked.



Buffy read from the large book in front of her. "The Box of Gavrok. It houses some great demonic energy or something which His Honor needs to chow down on come A Day." She glanced up as Willow and Giles came into the library. "Hey, guys. Any new plans now that we've actually got some information?" the Slayer asked.

"Perhaps," Giles answered. He glared at Wesley until the pompous young man cleared the books from the table. "These are maps of City Hall."

"Yeah," Willow chirped. "I found them in the water and power mainframe."

Smiling at her friend, Buffy pointed to a small room on the map. "The Box is being kept under guard in a small conference room on the top floor. Unfortunately, that's all the information I could get out of my informant before his aggressive tendencies forced me to introduce him to Mr. Pointy."

Straightening his tie and clearing his throat, Wesley said, "Well, now, here's what I…"

Interrupting the other man, Giles commented, "Perhaps you could enter through the skylight?" When Buffy nodded, he continued, "Take Angel with you, my dear."

Xander quietly joined in the planning. "There's a fire ladder over here, on this side of the building."

"Alright, then," Buffy declared. "Let's get the Box and we can all graduate without worrying about an Apocalypse."

"Well, I'm not sure just gaining possession of the Box will be enough," Giles cautioned.

"Yeah," Willow agreed. She grinned and nudged Buffy's shoulder. "We have to destroy it physically and ritually, with some down and dirty black magic."

"Now, hang on," Wesley interjected. "We don't know what such a ritual would require."

Giles smirked, taking a great deal of pleasure in over-ruling his replacement. "I think the Breath of the Entropics is standard for this sort of thing." He looked up from his book, and handed it to Xander. "Fairly simple recipe."

"I know," the young man responded with a sigh. "I'm ingredient getting' guy." He headed for the exit.

"Hold it! Stop!" Wesley raced toward Xander, jumping in front of the boy. "I demand everyone stop this instant. I'm in charge here, and I say this is all moving much too fast. We need time to fully analyze the situation and devise a proper stratagem."

"Wes," Buffy commented, "hop on the train or get off the tracks."

The Englishman stared at her in astonishment. However, he pulled himself together. "The Mayor will most assuredly have supernatural safeguards protecting the Box."

Xander, path still blocked by the Watcher, said, "You know, Buff, he's got a point."

"Wow. OK, Wes. We'll get it covered." The Slayer looked over her shoulder at Willow. "Sounds like a job for Wiccan Girl. What do you say, Will. Big time danger…"

The perky redhead smiled. "Hey, I eat danger for breakfast."

"Yet, oddly enough, she panics in the face of breakfast foods," Xander taunted before finally leaving the library.

"Let's get to work, then," Buffy ordered. The Scoobies filed out, leaving Wesley standing alone, clutching the maps of City Hall.

Faith stared at the Mayor in shock. "What the hell, Boss?"

"Now, Faith, I apologize if I startled you." He stood up and straightened his jacket. "But I really don't think it's a good idea to open that just now. It needs to wait until my Ascension."

"Sure, whatever you say." The Slayer backed off and sat down. She'd never really been curious about the whole Ascension deal, but those spiders and the Mayor's weird behavior had her wondering. "Hey, ya' know how you're always trying to get me to read and everything?"

"Yes? Found some books you want me to get you?" The Mayor smiled indulgently.

"Nah. Don't spend any money 'til I know if I'm gonna like it. I was just thinking you could recommend one of them books you got in here." Sweat ran down her back, and Faith hoped she could pull this off. "That way, I get to learn more about what's going on with you and maybe pick up some stuff to help with the Slaying."

Sandy eyebrows rose sharply. "Faith! That's wonderful." He moved from behind the desk, pulling the brunette up and into a hug. I knew you'd come around." Letting the stunned Slayer go, he bounded over to the wall, quickly opening the hidden compartment. "Now," he mumbled, rifling through the collection of tomes on the shelves, "what would be a really good introduction for my little girl?"

Faith rubbed sweating hands on the legs of her pants, grimacing at the way the moisture slicked the leather. All the intrigue of the past few days was making her edgy. Her right leg bounced up and down and her fingers drummed on the armrest.

"Ah, this one is perfect," the Mayor announced. "Here, Faith, you'll love this one."

Gently taking the old book from the Mayor, the brunette glanced at the cover. In spidery print, she read, Demonology: A Treatise of Magickal Creatures. "Thanks, Boss. Maybe I can learn something about the local demon population. Could come in handy."

"I'm so proud of you, Faith." The Slayer froze, an unknown feeling expanding inside her. No one had ever told her that. "It takes guts to try improving yourself." Closing the paneled wall, he crossed the room, sitting behind his desk. "Now, Faith, let's talk a little bit more about the next job I've got lined up for you."

Buffy glanced across the storage room at her best friend. Willow was staring furiously at the rows of herbs and potions, mumbling under her breath. "Hey, Will," the Slayer said.

At first, the young witch didn't hear her.

Buffy tried again. "Um, Will? Can we maybe talk about that empathy spell?"

Hands full of tiny bottles, the redhead turned to the blonde. "Sure, but I haven't been able to do any more research, you know."

"That's OK. I kinda did some of my own."

"Oh! You talked to Angel. What did he say?" Willow placed the fragile items in a carryall and picked up a couple of spell books, just in case.

Buffy twitched at that. Gee, Will, nothing good for my nerves. "I didn't really come out and ask him about the spell. It just sort of came up."

Something in the Slayer's voice told the witch this was big news. She stopped fussing with the supplies and dragged the shorter girl over to a couple of boxes. "OK, Buffy. That sounded way serious. So spill." Sensing some resistance, she frowned. "Better tell me now, Buff. Otherwise I'll have to use Resolve Face on you."

The blonde laughed at the threat. Holding her hands up in surrender, Buffy said, "OK, Will, you win. Keep the Resolve Face under control." Dropping her hands and getting serious, she continued, "I basically asked Angel to explain why I couldn't sense his thoughts last night. I got way more information than I wanted."

She looked at Willow. "The spell worked, Will. It just didn't work like we planned."

"How, exactly, did it work," the young witch asked fearfully.

"According to Angel, vampires are immune to telepaths and empaths. Something to do with the soul departing after death." When her friend started to ask a question, Buffy shrugged and said, "Don't ask for more. I didn't really understand everything. There was a mirror and then something about no reflection…Anyway, the spell let me feel emotions; I just wasn't feeling Angel's."

Eyes wide, Willow whispered, "Buffy, the only other person in the room was Faith."


"Oh, my God, Buffy! You said…I mean, Faith was…" the witch blushed fiery red.

Her own face flushed pink at the memory of the other Slayer's desire during their night at the Manor. "Exactly, Will. I'm feeling Faith's emotions, and she got's more than just a crush on me."

"Got another demon for me to kill, Boss? Cause I gotta say, this last one was a breeze," Faith admitted.

The smile twisting the older man's face sent chills through the Slayer. "No, Faith. I think it's time you stopped decimating the ranks of my future servants. I need you to take care of a human hindrance this time."

If the words hadn't sucked the energy from her limbs, Faith would have bolted. That wasn't an option, though. Heart pounding and bile dancing in her stomach, the Slayer put all of her skills to use keeping her face expressionless. "Somebody giving your grief, Boss?" Her voice came out almost normal, just a little quiver betrayed her unease.

Hazel eyes watched her reaction closely. "What's the matter? Long forgotten morality rearing its head?"

Dragging in a slow, deep breath, the brunette fought to remain calm. "Hey, it's all good." Loosening her death grip on the armrests, she leaned forward a little. "Let me know the when and the where. I'll make sure you got no problems left."

Slowly, the Mayor's smile grew more relaxed. "You know, Faith, when you first came to work for me, all the vampires told me it was just a ruse. They said you wanted to spy and you'd take my secrets back to your little friends." He leaned back in his chair. "I think you just proved them wrong."

"If you're questioning my loyalty, Boss," the brunette bluffed, "tell me who I gotta kill and I'll take care of it tonight. Can't stand the thought of you doubting me."

"Oh, it can wait a day or two. There's a professor at the University who may just have found a way to defeat me, even after the Ascension."

Part 10

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